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On your tombstone, it should read: Always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
~ Thomas Gabriel's last words to John McClane.

Thomas Gabriel is the main antagonist of the 2007 action film Live Free or Die Hard, also known as Die Hard 4.0. He is a former DOD analyst who leads a group of cyber-terrorists systematically shutting down the US infrastructure.

He was portrayed by Timothy Olyphant, in his second film villain role in his acting career after his portrayal of Mickey Altieri a decade earlier in Scream 2; he also stars as Agent 47 in Hitman.


Early life

Gabriel was born on May 20, 1968 in USA. He was once a chief programmer for America's infrastructure security in the DOD. During his tenure with the DOD, he designed a program that runs a top-secret NSA facility called Woodlawn, which is used as back-up servers for critical personal and financial records in case of total systematic attacks. Gabriel broke into the meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He hacked and shut down NORAD with a laptop to prove America is vulnerable for a cyber-attack. Pointing a gun at his head, the Joint Chiefs forced him to stop the hack. When he tried to go public, the government publically humiliated and fired him. Deputy Director Miguel Bowman refers to him as not being "people friendly." He was also apparently aware of Fredrick Kaludis aka Warlock.

Live Free or Die Hard

With the help of Mai Linh and a network of hackers led by Trey, Gabriel prepared a fire sale to wreck America's economy and steal billions of dollars using the Woodlawn facility. Using hackers from all over the country, including Matt Farrell, he creates different parts of the fire sale and sends men led by Rand to assassinate the hackers, but fails in eliminating Farrell when Detective John McClane interferes. As he sends Rand in a helicopter to chase down McClane and Farrell, he starts his fire sale and sends a message made up of clips from various presidents across the country to create fear and travels around Washington D.C. in a trailer pulled by an eighteen wheeler to keep from being located. After Mai locates McClane, Gabriel talks to him and tries to get him to give up or kill Farrell and erases his 401K to try to get him to do it. McClane refuses and Gabriel sends Rand after him and after he's chased into a tunnel, sends all the traffic right at him when Trey hesitates. After receiving word that McClane destroyed the helicopter and only Rand survived and that McClane apparently didn't, he recalls Rand. After the Eastern Hub starts to go back online, Gabriel contacts Mai through video conferencing and demands to know what's going on and is shocked to find McClane answering him revealing that Mai is dead.

In retaliation Gabriel blows up the Hub in an attempt to kill McClane and Farrell, but fails. Gabriel travels to Woodlawn to get the financial data and is furious when Warlock hacks into his network to find him. Gabriel contacts Warlock and is surprised to see McClane alive. As Warlock and Farrell try to track him, Gabriel contacts Lucy McClane and sends one of his men Russo to kidnap her to use as a hostage. Warlock manages to track his location and McClane and Farrell go after him while Gabriel gets Lucy hostage. Gabriel also has all of his hackers but Trey killed as he no longer needs them. When Farrell sets off the alarm, he sends Russo after McClane and is shocked when McClane defeats and apparently kills him. Gabriel tries to reason with McClane, trying to convince him what he's doing is right and when he fails, tries to get Lucy to do it and is angry when Lucy merely tells McClane that there are five bad guys left and he slaps her and sends Rand after McClane. After Farrell is captured by Emerson after encrypting the data, Gabriel decides to leave and takes off in a Hazmat truck with his trailer following him. There he tries to force Farrell to decrypt the data, but when McClane takes over the eighteen wheeler, Gabriel tricks an F-35 pilot into attacking him and believes him killed.


Gabriel receiving a bullet in the heart.

5 minutes later, Gabriel and his men travel to a warehouse near the highway, unaware they were tracked by McClane who survived. Gabriel shoots Farrell in the knee and threatens Lucy's life to get him to decrypt the data and orders Trey to ready a plane that they have ready to escape in. However, McClane arrives and kills Trey and one of Gabriel's remaining men. Gabriel uses Lucy as a hostage to keep McClane from shooting him and McClane is shot in the arm by Emerson. Gabriel forces Farrell to keep working and as he goes after McClane, Lucy shoots Emerson in the foot and kicks his gun to McClane, but Gabriel stops it and grabs McClane and shoves his gun into McClane's wound to torture him and mocks him by saying that his tombstone will say on how he's always at the wrong place at the wrong time, but McClane grabs the gun and shoots himself through the shoulder, sending the bullet into Gabriel's heart, killing him, while remarking "How about..."Yippee-ki-yay, motherf**ker.", referring to Hans Gruber's last words in the first film.


Gabriel was an incredibly manipulative and powerful mastermind. Thanks to his computer genius, he was able to hack into nearly every single system among USA, and also to manipulate the fighter pilot into killing McClane.

Most of all, he enjoyed attempting to kill and antagonizing McClane. For example, when he had kidnapped John's daughter, Lucy, he threatened John that he would kill her, which caused a harsh anger to McClane. He was also a megalomaniacal egotist, as he gloated about his plans or rather about his computer genius.


  • Live Free or Die Hard was released in 2007. On that year, Timothy Olyphant portrayed Agent 47 in the film Hitman which was released on the same year.


           DieHardTitle.png Villains

Die Hard: Hans Gruber | Karl Vreski | Theo | Tony Vreski
Die Hard 2: William Stuart | Ramon Esperanza | Major Grant
Ricochet: Earl Talbot Blake | Kim
Die Hard with a Vengeance: Simon Gruber | Katya | Mathias Targo
Live Free or Die Hard: Thomas Gabriel | Mai Linh | Trey | Rand | Robert Russo | Emerson | Casper
A Good Day to Die Hard: Yuri Komarov | Irina Komarov | Viktor Chagarin | Alik

Video Games
Die Hard: Vendetta: Piet Gruber
Die Hard Arcade: Wolf Hongo
Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas: Kenny Sinclair | Reese Hoffman | Elena Goshkin | Amir El Kahr | Victor Rashenko

Comic Books
Die Hard: Year One: Alan Douglas
A Million Ways to Die Hard: Mr. Moviefone